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Shortly after I started up our hunting preserve I heard about a guy that was trying to get rid of a 10 month old yellow lab. A well pedigreed dog with a couple months of pro training, but her trainer told the owner that the dog was a knot-head and would need several more months of training and still might not amount to much. The guy didn’t want to put any more money into her and was going to start over with another pup.
At the time I only had one hunting dog and the demand for guided hunts was increasing. I didn’t have time to start a new pup myself, so I decided to take a look at this one. He dropped her off so I could evaluate her for a few days before committing to taking her. That afternoon I grabbed my gun and took her out to the field to find out what kind of a knot-head I was dealing with. Within 15 minutes she kicked up three pheasants and made perfect retrieves on the two that I downed. My gun barrel hadn’t cooled off yet when I was on the phone to let the guy know, before he had a chance to change his mind, that Molly had a new home.
And so began our life with Molly as a family member. In the house she was a real sweetheart, always on the lookout for someone’s idle hand to scratch her ears. If she thought she was unfairly being ignored, she would stare at you with her big brown eyes and puff out her cheeks like a blowfish. In the field, she became the old pro, impressing hunters with her ability to work a line and produce shootable flushes, then follow up with excellent marks and retrieves.
She was great with youngsters, both kids and pups. There are plenty of young hunters that shot their first pheasant on one of the many youth hunts that Molly worked. She also helped many young pups learn the ropes in the field and never had a problem yielding a downed bird to the pup so they could think it was their own retrieve.
The only problem I ever had with Molly involves the amount of money she cost me in tournament entry fees. I became involved in hosting tournaments in a well know hunting series and as a courtesy, I entered her in a tournament at another club in the series. I had never competed in a tournament before and was up against a lot of seasoned veterans, so my expectations weren’t very high. Much to my surprise we took fifth place and would have taken second if I hadn’t missed an easy shot. Thus began a several year run at tournament hunting and if my shooting ability was half as good as Molly’s hunting ability, you’d be watching us on TV.
Molly gave us a couple litters of fine puppies which are now lighting up the hearts of their own families. The ones we kept, Tyke and Snowball (who was born deaf) are continuing Molly’s tradition of impressing hunters in the field and competing for their fair share of attention in the house or clubhouse.
Early this winter I noticed that Molly was starting to slow down a bit, which can be expected of a 10 year old dog. Recently the slow down became more pronounced and she began losing her appetite. I took her to the vet for some blood tests and the results came back this morning. There was something to be concerned about and they wanted me to bring her in for x-rays, which indicated a tumor. They opened her up to remove it, but discovered cancer spreading throughout her internal organs. The dreaded decision to say our final good-byes was made.
Molly will be missed and we are grateful for every moment of constant pleasing that she blessed us with.
Molly and Tyke returning from a training session
A little mother-daughter chat